Month: June 2011

J’ai Mangé Eba

My friends, how I have missed thee! It’s only been a couple of weeks since my last post but it feels like forever. I’ve been on a spiritual journey of sorts all month and that’s where my attentions have been focused.

You may not know this but I’ve been taking French classes since the start of April. It’s a language I’ve always wanted to speak and one of the goals I set myself this year. It’s going really well. I’m a bit of a local champion in the class and I tell you, it feels great not to be the dunce for a change. The things that happened to me as a French student in secondary school, shame will not allow me tell you people.

The tutor is a basket case. She cracks me up no end and has the wit of a razor. Thankfully she is French so I get to hear an authentic French accent which I’m doing a bad ass job of imitating. Only that American accent eludes me but one day, one day, I will conquer it. I warn you, you don’t want to be around me when I do because you might be jailed for murder.

Speaking of accents, there’s an Igbo business man in my class. Need I say more?! His Igbo accent is the real deal and hearing him speak French is the highlight of the classes. His pace of learning is considerably slower than the class average so the poor man finds himself the object of the tutor’s attentions more often than he’d like.

In the last class, we had to tell everyone what we did at the weekend. When it was Nna’s turn, it went like this.

Nna:  Samedi, j’ai mangé mon déjeuner a douze heure.

Tutor: Qu’est-ce que tu as mangé?

Nna: J’ai mangé eba.

Tutor: Eba? Qu’est-ce que c’est ? What it is?

Nna: Eba now, eba.

Tutor: Eba? What are you trying to say? Say in English, I will translate to French for you.

Nna: Eba is eba. Which one is translate to English again? You don’t know eba?!

Every eyebrow in the room was furrowed as the class tried to decipher this word that Nna had thrown out there. All but mine of course, I was laughing my head off. How the heck did he expect them to know what eba is?!

Tutor: Describe to me what is it.

Nna: Me I don’t know how I can describe it. It is swallow, you know swallow abi?

They were both getting frustrated so I composed myself long enough to explain to the tutor that eba is a Nigerian dish made from ground cassava.

MEE: It looks a bit like couscous when it’s raw and turns out like mash when you cook it.

Tutor: Ah! Why you not say that?!

Nna: Is it not eba I said?! Na wetin she describe be that!

Nna accused the tutor of having a limited knowledge of world foods, the tutor defended her right not to know what eba is and I had to take deep breaths to stop myself collapsing.

Igbo kwenu!



Tales From The Underground: How To Bag A Date With A Stranger

I love construction workers. They know how to make even Fiona from Shrek feel like the hottest chic to ever walk the  earth. I’ll concede they can be rude at times but if you don’t take yourself too seriously, you’ll be alright. This morning I stood between four builders on the train. They were sitting and the princess in me was a bit miffed that none of them was gentleman enough to offer me his seat. One of them fancied himself a lothario and hoping to score a seat, I indulged him small.

“You know you’re really pretty don’t you?!’

I smiled and thanked him.

“So are you from around here?”

“I am but you’re clearly not judging by your accent.”

“Yeah, I’m from south wales. I’m in London for a few months on a job.”

“Good for you.”

“You look like you could do with a seat.”

“I wouldn’t turn yours down if you offered.”

“On my laps though sugar.”

I laughed. “Not on your life mate.”

He winked. “Can’t blame a guy for trying.”

I opened up my Metro and began reading. If the guy wasn’t going to stand up, there was no point to the banter.

At the next stop a pretty brunette girl got on the train. Lothario winked at his friends and started working his magic.

“Are the trains always this crowded?”

“They are at this time!”

“I’m not from around here so I’m not used to this.”

“Oh, where are you from?”

“I’m from South Wales but I’m working in London for a few months.”

“Nice! Do you like it here?”

“It’s alright but I don’t know anyone in these parts so I never know where to go to have fun.”

“Aaw,that’s a shame. London’s a fun city.”

“Sounds like you know all the hot spots! I’m not trying to be funny but I’ll buy you a drink if you promise to show me around town.”

As you can tell, I wasn’t really reading my paper. My amebo antenna was fully erect! I have to give him credit, he was charming the pants off the girl and she was letting them pool round her ankles.

“I’m not sure I should, I don’t know you.”

“Let’s rectify that then! Come on, I don’t bite. Give me an hour and if you don’t enjoy my company, I won’t make you go home with me.”

You should have seen the twinkle in his big brown eyes. Even I was tempted to say yes to his proposal and he wasn’t talking to me! Nevertheless, I was shocked when she agreed without much persuasion and watched in awe as she handed over her number. Is it that easy to bag a date?! I was still trying to get over my shock when he stood up, pulled her in for a hug, kissed her on the cheek…AND SAT BACK DOWN. Her number, a hug and a kiss later and he still didn’t offer her his seat. Shio!

Poor girl. I sure hope all she’s after is a one night stand or else it’ll be!



23 Years & Counting

On this day 23 years ago my father breathed his last breath.

It wasn’t really a surprise because he was sick and in hospital in the run up to his death but you know death, it has a way of shocking you regardless. 

This day is always weird for me because I’m never sure how I’m supposed to, allowed to feel. He died 9 days before I turned four so I can’t say I knew him well. Am I a hypocrite for mourning a man I barely knew or is the fact that I called him daddy all the reason I need?

Over the years I’ve heard many stories about him that have made me believe he was a good man, a man of integrity. I know they aren’t lying because I’ve heard it from too many people for it not to be true but I also know no man is perfect. Why does no one tell me the bad things? Do they think it will make me love him less?  Surely the man must have annoyed some people in this world! I really hate not knowing everything. It sucks.

The fondest memory I have of him was in the run up to his death. It was June 1988 and my birthday wasn’t far away. I asked my mum how we were going to celebrate it and she said we weren’t because daddy was in hospital.

“Daddy, mummy says I can’t celebrate my birthday because you are sick!!!”

I was crying like my life depended on a cake and party packs for my friends at school.

“Your mummy said that?! Don’t mind her, of course you will celebrate it. Tina!”


My mother rushed to his bedside.

“Why did you tell my Princess that she can’t celebrate her birthday?!”

My father made EVERYONE that came to visit him promise that they should make sure I had the birthday of all birthdays.

“Daddy I know you can’t come home for the party but I will bring you some of my birthday cake.” 

Sadly, he didn’t hang around long enough for me to keep that promise.

Everyone kept their word and I had the best birthday ever. The house was brimming with presents and I’ve never seen so many cakes in my life…not even in a bakery! My classmates at school awarded me goddess status and my gargantuan party packs were the talk of the class for weeks after. I had to wear a black party dress to school with black plastic earrings but even that didn’t stop me smiling. My mother, aunties, uncles, and the rest of my family were mourning but I was floating on a cloud and they were forced to put aside their grief to make my day extra special. Not the most sensitive kid on the block eh?!

I think I will forever feel guilty about that. It’s why I never make a fuss on my birthday.

I’m not interested in filling my dustbin with wet tissues today. Who will empty it when I’m done?!  All I want is for him to know that by the grace of God, I’ve made good of my life.  I didn’t get knocked up and sleep with men for money like those aunties predicted I would.  I didn’t drop out of university and fall in with bad gangs like all those people said I would. We didn’t have to beg for anything like all those people expected we would. They who were avoiding us were wasting their energy because we sure as hell didn’t need them. We had God (even when we didn’t know it) and he was more than enough for us.

Today I want him to know he isn’t forgotten. I treasure the memories I have of him and I will forever be grateful to God that I knew him at all.

Angels, I’m not sure how these things work but just in case he can’t read this, please pass on the message. If you will, tell him I love him and will bring him that piece of cake when I’m coming to meet him in heaven. Mr Integrity, let him not say I don’t keep my promises!



Tales From The Underground: Bibeli Mimo

Last night I hopped on a Northern line train at heading for High Barnet (from Angel) round about 8.45pm. I was exhausted. I’d had a crazy busy day at work and then had to sit in a French class for 2hours. I got on the train and dug out a pen and my copy of the Evening Standard from my bag.

Side note: Am I the only one addicted to crosswords?!

Just as the train departed Camden Town, a woman’s voice filled the carriage.

“Good evening my sisters, good evening my brothers. Jesus loves you. Give your lives to Jesus and everything will be okay for you.”

My eyes widened in disbelief. Y’all know I’m a Christian but even for me it was a shock. I recognised her accent…Yoruba. She carried on with her speech and one by one, the people around her began to stick their earphones in their ears. The woman was sat between two backpackers so I couldn’t see what she looked like.

I put my head down and returned to my crossword.

As the train approached Archway, I heard her voice heading in my direction. I looked around and there was an empty seat next to me. I didn’t need anyone to tell me where she was going to plunk herself next. Sure enough, she sat next to me. I stared at the woman and realised she was old … jerry curls and hush puppies kind of old. I looked down at her hand and read the inscription on the book in her hand, ‘bibeli mimo.’

I smiled to myself and  returned to my crossword.

She started her speech from the top and as she went on, the truth of what she was saying struck me. The woman was dashing out biblical truths for free to her fellow commuters and my irritation ebbed away.

The girl sat across from me piped up.“Excuse me, do you think anyone is listening to you?!”

I sat up. Let nobody harass mama on this train o!

“My sister they are listening.”

“Who is listening? The lady next to you is doing her crossword and everyone else has their earphones in.”

“They might not show it but they are hearing me and the Holy Spirit is working on them. Whether or not they are listening, I am doing the one God sent me to do.”

“Do you only do this on the Northern line?”

“I do it everywhere; bus o, train o, even aeroplane! I have freedom pass so I can travel anywhere.”

I imagined myself on a long haul flight with mama on it and shuddered. I love Jesus and things but…

“Before I only used to preach inside bus and one day police arrest me.  I tell them that it is good as they arrest me, maybe they can help me to see the Queen. The Queen have a message and I don’t know how I can see her to deliver.”

“So God tells you things about the Queen?”

“God can tell me anything about anybody. Like you now, I know you are a strong woman of God. You will become evangelist like me. You have sharp mouth so you can do the job.”

Clearly mama didn’t need my help. LMAO.

“I don’t think so! What if people don’t like what you’re saying.  Aren’t you scared?”

“Scared of what? I don’t fear anybody. If you are preaching to people and they like you then you are not doing your job. They cannot like you, did they like Jesus?”

“I guess.”

“One day in the train I meet a gay. He started to challenge me when I was preaching so I ask him what is the problem. He say he is a gay and I said, ‘ehen?! A gay is a person, Jesus love you!’”

By this time, the carriage was almost empty and the few people on it were laughing their heads off.

As the train approached my stop, the girl sitting across from me got up.

“It was nice to meet you. Good luck with your evangelism.”

“It’s nice to meet you too my sister. My name is Gladys, are you glad?”

I almost passed out laughing on the platform.!